In the coming months, as we get ready for Student360, we’re putting together a few blog posts with tips for young professionals getting into the cybersecurity and risk management industries. This week, we’re talking about how to set up a professional network to support you in your career journey.
Think about your personal brand
As you head into the professional world, think about how others may see you especially as it relates to your digital footprint. Are your social media profiles set up with the right privacy parameters? How do you want others to perceive you if they happen upon your profile or meet you in a personal setting? How we carry ourselves online and offline can have an impact on the perceptions our potential employers and colleagues may have. Think about your personal brand and work toward honing it.
Manage your LinkedIn profile
Hiring managers, leaders and others who may not know you yet but who are interested in who you are before an actual meeting happens, will likely look for you on LinkedIn. Brush up your LinkedIn profile by ensuring your avatar is a professional picture, that your about section and experiences areas are updated, and that the headline of your profile section succinctly describes who you are or what you are looking for. Inc has a great article on the dos and don’ts of networking via LinkedIn.
Ask for referrals, references and introductions
Referrals and references are great to have on hand as you move on from school or move on from a job. Before you graduate, before you change jobs or as you finish up a project with someone with whom you worked well, ask for letters of recommendations or referrals to others they may know in the industry. Keep in touch with those that you work well with and with those that have given you praise along the way. These are your ambassadors that will continue to speak highly of you as you move through your career journey.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask others for introductions. Many professionals would be happy to introduce you to people they know, set up coffees or facilitate an e-intro as a way for you to get to know others studying in the same areas as you or even those who have been through similar career paths as you’re looking to achieve. Think about what you could also provide to others in way of advice or support. Networking is a two-way street.
Set networking goals
Set an achievable goal for networking during the year. It could be that you want to have coffee with one new person a month. Maybe it’s that you’d like to be introduced to someone you admire in the field. Or, it could be that you want to set up weekly networking meetings with a career coach to talk about networking goals for the future. Whatever your goals are, set them and stick to them.
Whether you are networking in-person, at a large event or through email correspondence, never underestimate the power of a good thank you, either. Let others know when they have made a positive impact on your career and thank them for offering up time to help you achieve success. Likewise, you never know when someone you meet will turn up again in life; be mindful to stay positive, stay professional and keep your bridges in tact. The industry may seem big now, but as you get to know key players, it will appear to get smaller and smaller. Sometimes, who you know is just as important as what you know.
What networking and career-growth tips do you have? Share with everyone in the comments, below. Together, we can grow!